GeorgeDyson has an interesting historical essay on the difference between the VonNeumanArchitecture (underlying all digital computers) and BiologicalComputation (brain and genetic systems)
The main differences is that digital computers operate on fixed addresses and need reliable components. In contrast :
- Biology has taken a completely different approach. There is no von Neumann address matrix, just a molecular soup, and the instructions say simply "DO THIS with the next copy of THAT which comes along."*
There is no unforgiving central address authority, and no unforgiving central clock. This ability to take general, organized advantage of local, haphazard processes is exactly the ability that (so far) has distinguished information processing in living organisms from information processing by digital computers.
The twist is that Google is creating the ContentAddressable ArtificialIntelligence